This was the story that shook the world for the last few months- the issue that reveals Jon Kent is bi. Besides being important, it’s also worth asking is Superman: Son of Kal-El #5 good?
It’s a conversation worth having. As Jon confronts Henry Bendix, his life could change. The issue was created by Tom Taylor, John Timms, Hi-Fi Color, and Dave Sharpe.
Bendix has hyper-charged Jon Kent. Now the young Superman has the power to solve everything, but does he have the control? And can he do it without burning himself out?
Taylor does a lot right in this issue. He is able to capture the spirit of what Jon is pushing himself to do incredibly well. This is exactly what a young Superman would do when he’s given way more power than he knows what to with. The temptation to save everyone would be incredibly great, and he writes these scenes extremely well, even if there probably should have been more time spent on the conflict between Jon and Bendix. I don’t think they needed to resolve the conflict, but building it up more would have helped make Jon’s choice land better.
As for the big kiss? It was fine. It was treated as extremely matter of fact, which is what it needed to be. Timms paced the reveal to show that this was a young man just acting on who he was, and the big splash page was just an awkward teenage kiss. It’s definitely a good thing, but the execution was no better than just fine. It treated it just how it needed to, but I feel like if it had been written by an actual queer person, maybe a few of the moments leading up to the reveal would have felt more substantial and less hollow.
Timms’ art is the high point of the issue. He really shows how powerful Jon is but also keeps his vulnerability an important part of his character. You can see him start to break down as he pushes, and when he collapses from exhaustion you can feel the relief. Hi-Fi’s color work is good, putting the heroic acts of our young hero as the focal point of these pages.
This issue in the end is good, but not much else. It’s a simple story of a hero pushing too hard, but it’s also a big step treated in a way that’s simply a matter of fact. Jon Kent is bi, and that’s just how it is. I think the ultimate answer to whether it was successful in revealing this will depend on the follow up- will Taylor make this a plot point in the story or was it just for this issue, intended never to be mentioned again? I think if it’s the former, then it will have set out to do what it needed to do. But if it ends up the latter, it probably should have been held for a writer who wanted to give the storyline the care it needs.
It’s a wait and see. I hope that it comes through and delivers on what it promises.
Superman: Son of Kal-El #5 is available now from DC Comics.
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